I don’t listen to a lot of music. But when I do listen to music, I prefer folk metal, epic metal, and stuff like that.
I was listening to a song recently, called When Gjallarhorn Will Sound (by Falkenbach). I liked the song a lot – except for the death metal vocals (the normally sung vocals were fine). First of all, I don’t like death metal vocals. They sound… stupid. But I didn’t like the lyrics either. I’ll reproduce them; you guess why.
“Ruler of Asgaard, father of Thorr,
send me your powers devine …
Grant me your wisdom, strengthen my soul,
so revenge of our blood shall be mine…
Allfather Odhinn, I entreat you with awe,
to ride with me side by side,
so avenged shall all be, who had died in the past,
by the power of heathenish pride…
Master of thunder, lighting and rain,
soon your hammer and cross shall collide…
Protector of midgaard’s daughters and sons,
in your name christian reign I will fight…
When the hammer will crush, and oppressors will fall,
my sword will be raised to thy hail !
Then the fires shall burn in the name of the Gods
as the sign of the heathen prevail !”
“Strong is my heart, and strong is my will,
soon I will break our chain…
Then the swords shall be raised
and our flag held up high,
the banner of the heathen domain…
Long I’ve awaited the day of revenge,
the heathenish reign to return…
Now my swordblade is forged,
and my soul will prepared,
by my hands christian crosses shall burn…”
Wanna take a guess?
I understand that most people who say they believe in the Norse gods do so in conscious opposition to Christianity (like in the above song). But, my question is, why are the two mutually exclusive? Why is polytheism considered mutually exclusive with monotheism? I’m going to put forth the claim that one person can logically believe in a variation upon the Norse gods, namely Tolkien’s Valar, and also in the Christian God. (I don’t believe in the Valar but I see no theological reason why I could not.) Why?
The main reason is that the Norse gods are not Gods. They are not omnipotent beings, they are merely more powerful then men. They could be viewed as merely a type of angel. Which is exactly what the Valar are. The Ymir creation myth would have to go, Ragnarok would have to go (or be seen as an explanation of what would happen if the Valar tried to defeat evil in the end without God), but the main substance – the basic idea of polytheism – is not opposed to monotheism. Perhaps you cannot have both Odin and Christ, but you can have Christ and Manwë.
So, in conclusion – I don’t believe in the Valar. But I see how one could, and still be Christian.
This is probably less coherent than it could be. It’s a strange topic, and when I wrote it I wasn’t quite sure what my thesis was. Make if this what you will.